With Hamas Victory, a Changed Middle East

(International Herald Tribune) Steven Erlanger - The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian legislative elections has altered the Middle East. It is comparable to the revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran and brought the mullahs of Shia Islam to power. The Hamas victory is not just a little local difficulty. Hamas is the Palestinian part of the Muslim Brotherhood and the first to win an election. Its victory has enormous resonance for radical Islam everywhere. The "peace process" is effectively dead. The diplomatic assumptions of 40 years - a peace treaty after a negotiated territorial compromise between Israel and Palestine, or "land for peace" - are blown apart. Ariel Sharon tried to redefine the bargain as an independent Palestinian state in return for dismantling all armed "terrorist" groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades. That was a commitment undertaken in the "road map" by Yasser Arafat and reconfirmed by Mahmoud Abbas. But Hamas won't dismantle itself. A long, hostile quiet may be possible. Israelis and Palestinians may pursue parallel unilateralisms. But serious negotiations on a peace settlement? Very unlikely. The world wants Hamas to be a "partner," but Hamas has other ideas. It rejects the old framework. It sees recognition of Israel as impossible. Israel can now argue that it really has "no partner."

2006-03-17 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive